Friday, March 25, 2011

World Cup 2011 .... South Africa vs New Zealand - Quarterfinals !!!

South Africa has done it again, CHOKED at the knockout stages of the World Cup. Clear favourites by all & sundry & easily coasting to victory till about the last 23 overs of the match, team Proteas simply panicked & choked & gifted a World Cup semifinal slot to the Kiwis. It was simply unbelievable & bizarre, as eight wickets fell in a heap for just 64 runs in a space of 20 odd overs.
At the beginning of the match, when Kiwis batting first, lost the dangerous McCullum & Guptill with 6 overs for just 16 runs, it looked like South Africa will steamroll through, & it will be a no contest. But Taylor & Ryder added 114 runs for the 3rd wicket & then the score ambled to 221 run for 8 wickets in 50 overs. For the first time in the tournament, South Africa could not bowl out a side. Was that the premonition that stuck them & they gave away the plot????
Chasing 222 looked easy, even in this spin track & the Proteas had enough firepower. So when they lost inform Amla cheaply & then Smith, the match looked very much in their grip. At 108 for 2 in 24 overs, with Kallis & AB de Villiers in the middle, things looked quite hunky dory for South Africa. One felt that the match would get over quite soon, when CHOKE came into play. In a bizarre twist to the tale, one after the other wickets just fell, in absolute mayhem, and batsmen forgot to bat. The Kiwis, buoyed by a Jacob Oram catch that dismissed Kallis almost at the midwicket boundary, started fielding & bowling as champions. Kallis, AB & Duminy went within a space of 24 balls, & the middle order collapsed. Steyn, Peterson, Botha, Morkel, all of them capable of scoring heftily on their own, looked like caged chicken ready to be grilled.....they looked resigned to if death was knocking. It was all over before one could gather. New Zealand had stormed into the semifinals with a 49 runs victory over South Africa.
It was probably the belief in the mind that was missing, as South Africa have now not won a single game in the knockout stages for six World Cup tournaments, since 1992.
A team laden with such talent & capability, its surprising that they have not been mentally strong to handle knock out stages...its like a nightmare that never seems to end.....

Man of the Match ; Jacob Oram, for taking 4 wickets with the ball & two splendid catches, which sealed the fate of South Afrcia.